Geotargeting: 20 Best Practices for Local SEO Campaigns

Geotargeting is about delivering productive results to an Internet user based on their location. This system is a necessity for business owners who have websites that cater to different localities nationwide or even worldwide. Search engines such as Google use location as another factor in determining the results of web searches.

What Is Geotargeting?

Search engines use geotargeting as a process in optimizing your website so that specific details and content are produced based on the location of the user. Users who access your website are not only based in one location. You may not know it, but your users are located globally, and geotargeting is a strategic way of converting these global users into clients.

Many users now access the Internet on their mobile phones, and mobility is the name of the game when it comes to geotargeting. Content depends on their location, and even results from web searches will be based on the location of the user. IP addresses are used by web search engine servers to locate the user and then match specific content based on this location.

This technique is also being harnessed by ad agencies.

How Does Geotargeting Work?

Search engines use three main signals in determining the location of the website, namely its:

  1. Domain
  2. Hosting location
  3. Language

As a website owner, you can use your own subdomain, country code top-level domain, general top-level domain, subdirectory, or any domain to improve your SEO ranking.

Tips for Using Geotargeting

  1. In order to boost your performance in your own country, you can use backlinks to country code top-level domains. Using links to local content shows your website is specific to that place. In turn, this will trigger search engine results specific to that locality.
  2. Relevant backlinks should also be established, since this will enhance the legitimacy and quality of your website. You would not want to backlink to parenting blogs if you are in the business of selling running shoes, would you?
  3. If you have country-specific domain name extensions and a local server IP, use these to your advantage since search engines use server locations in ranking their search results.
  4. You should take into consideration whether your server’s IP address has been flagged for spam, since this will also affect the ranking of your website. Adjusting this and taking into consideration the loading speed of your website will help you maintain the ranking that you want for your website.
  5. Your contact information in the Contact Us page section of your website is also important. You can use appropriate contact information such as matching it with Whois website information so that clients will not be suspicious with you as a business owner.
  6. You can also use exact-match domains or use keywords for your domain names so that relevant search results matching the keywords in your domain names will have positive results for your website.
  7. Try to adjust the site map and site architecture of your website by allowing search engines to index your pages thoroughly, thereby improving the relationship of your website for search engines such as Google and increasing your rank in the search results.
  8. Create YouTube content specific to your region, since the search results for videos increased significantly after the Google Panda Update.
  9. Setting up HTTPS as a means of securing your local customers will be advantageous to your business. It adds an assurance that your website is legitimate and you do not want to gather personal information as well as credit card information unscrupulously for your security reasons. SSL certificates and HTTPS are used by Google for ranking purposes.
  10. The Terms of Use and Privacy Pages must conform to local laws relative to your business. If possible, you need to have a translation of this section in local languages since Google assesses the trustworthiness of your website via these pages.
  11. Your products and services must match the right cities where you want it to be promoted for successful conversion.
  12. Use specific zip codes for the areas you want your products and services to be known for. You can use radius targeting in order to reach more visitors that will become your clients.
  13. Make sure that the keywords that you use for geotargeting match the location of your business. You can create a list of keywords such as “wedding planner in New York” or “wedding business in New York,” since most people have a tendency to search for products or services near their location. You can also use regional terms if your business is able to cater in a specific region. Most people search keywords using regional terms because this is highly reliable in producing specific search results.
  14. Make sure that you are geotargeting the correct city and correct neighborhood, since customers do not want to waste time in going to your business location if you are just using cities or neighborhoods just for the sake of increasing your search ranks.
  15. Make sure that you also consider the social and economic status of your clients when you are geotargeting. For example, high-end equipment will certainly be purchase by those living in affluent locations.
  16. You can also use zip codes in geotargeting keywords because the results will have a lower cost-per-click and a higher search volume. Make sure that you add them to your location settings in the keywords that you will be using.
  17. Use the power of Google Analytics when you are geotargeting. This will show you how your customers think. As a business owner, you need to think like your clients and understand how they behave. This is where Google Analytics can be very helpful, such as being able to identify the cities that are bringing you a high amount of visitors and search volume.
  18. You should write ads that are specific to your location. This will increase your overall metrics in search engines. You can also create a landing page for a specific city to maximize your business’s geotargeting efficiency.
  19. If you own several branches of your business and they are strategically located in different cities, you should create different campaigns for each different city. This is another way of making geotargeting effective for your business, since a business campaign in New York may be different from the one you do in Texas. You might have an extensive line of service in the latter city which cannot be found in the former city.
  20. In geotargeting, as a business owner, you should always enable your extensions and Google Places. This is a valuable benefit for your SEO ranking, which you can do for free in a short amount of time.

Geotargeting is really valuable in increasing the Return on Investment for your business since this strategically attracts the right customers specific to your location. These are the best practices that can be done in order to have an accurate result specific to the location of the user.

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How New Tech Is Revolutionizing HR

Human Resources is often looked upon as a sort of necessary evil in every business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as cutting-edge technology is helping HR departments in companies of all sizes evolve into a field that is equally relevant and innovative.

Tech including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are helping to streamline HR processes, while cybersecurity is taking the front seat where company data and privacy is concerned. Here’s what you need to know about how an HR department can harness the power of new tech to change its influence and impact within companies, and by extension its reputation as a whole.

The Role of Cybersecurity

A big part of the job in HR is keeping employee personal data secure. In our digital age, it’s easier than ever for cyberthieves to hack into data systems. That’s where cybersecurity comes into play.

As an HR professional, it’s your job to hire individuals who are educated in the latest technologies and equipped to protect the organizations they work for. This can be especially challenging if you have staff members working remotely.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception, with more than 40 percent of workers reporting that they perform some remote duties. As an HR rep, it’s your job to clarify policies and provide resources for remote employees so that they understand how to protect themselves, as well as company data, while working remotely. It’s also your job to anticipate and identify potential security issues before they turn into a major problem.

Your company may even consider putting together a cybersecurity team to address today’s security needs. A cybersecurity team is made up of individuals who are trained in information sciences and cybersecurity. Typically, those professionals are up-to-date on the latest equipment and technologies in order to effectively perform their duties.

Some companies are taking the cybersecurity hiring process even further by designing and building a cybersecurity control room. This move highlights the vital role a cybersecurity team plays in day-to-day operations. HR professionals should work closely with their cybersecurity team in order to answer any question that may arise.

AI and HR Analytics

AI has been changing the way we work for several years, but we’re only starting to see how it can help streamline the field of HR. The technology is meant to work in tandem with human processes, effectively doing three things:

  • Amplifying human function
  • Automating tasks
  • Augmenting human capabilities

AI use in HR starts with the hiring process. Automated software can help narrow down candidates without bias, based on information provided by potential hires. This is where amplifying comes in, as automated screening amps up the capabilities of HR professionals.

With AI, corporate training and payroll are augmented and automated. The use of AI reduces the chance of human error and keeps HR reps accountable for the data collected and processed. AI also allows for better tracking and accountability of remote workers.

Utilizing AI is a smart move for every business since the technology is becoming so ubiquitous. According to Personnel Today, nearly 40 percent of businesses were already using AI in some form as of 2017. A further 62 percent said that they expected to adopt AI into their business model in the near future.

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Beyond

Payroll is an intrinsic part of the job for many HR professionals. And in today’s landscape of digital payments and other currency forms, payroll may seem more complicated than it has in the past.

If your business has remote workers on your payroll, chances are some of them are part of the emerging bitcoin and blockchain revolution. But what does that mean for you? Put simply, bitcoin is a form of digital currency, and a blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of those funds.

Data indicates that about 28 million people around the world have a blockchain wallet. On the business end, more than $110 million in bitcoin payments are made every month. These numbers are growing, and HR professionals should have at least a basic understanding of blockchain technology.

Savvy business owners and HR techs should keep payment methods flexible and able to incorporate bitcoin and blockchain as needed. There are now more than 1000 types of digital currency that can end up in a blockchain, worth a grand total of more than $22 billion. That’s a number that’s hard to ignore.

While your company may be years away from adopting blockchain technology, it may be prudent to put together employee training sessions that revolve around digital currency, including bitcoin.

Final Thoughts

Our modern digital age has brought numerous, exciting changes to the realm of HR. Corporate data privacy issues and security training are increasingly part of an HR rep’s job description, alongside recruitment and payroll. Those duties are becoming easier, thanks to the automation, innovation, and augmentation found in new tech such as AI and blockchain.

Follow these 7 Tips to Manage Your Google Shopping Campaign Efficiently

Advertisements have always played the key role in marketing, hence enabling the businesses to propagate beyond bounds. Google Shopping Ads is one such attractive feature that Google offers to capture the market and allure potential customers. To make your business big and reach out to the users, you can seek the assistance of an expert white label PPC agency. To make the most of this important feature, abiding by the below tips would be beneficial.

About Google Ads

Introduction: Google Showcase Ads or GSA is a shopping ad that appears before the paid Google Adwords. You will find many related products in these ads while searching general or specific things. These free pop-ups offer the users an attractive and detailed first-impression and let them compare. This not only reduces your Adwords cost but also increases your revenue and ROI with better exposure among your audiences. Alongside, it displays products from second-hand sellers and large retailers as well for the people searching for the same.

Settings: In order to reap the benefits of Google shopping campaign, you need to provide an optimized GSA with competitive pricings. You will have to pay for the ad when someone clicks the link or expands it for more than ten seconds. So, you must act in such a way that in the initial moments you get to capture the audiences without paying. To master the perfect setup, you should search and learn the required steps from the Google tutorials.

Optimization Trick

Abiding by certain tricks will ensure successful running and conversion of your GSAs with proper management. Here are the prominent ones:

#1 Perfect Pictures:

In case of any marketing and advertisement, you cannot deny the importance of the visual impacts. Thus, you will have to choose those pictures, which appeal the users and enable them to relate with those images. You must do proper research regarding the preferences of the viewers and upload them in contrasting colors to get more attention. Also, make sure to resize the picture according to the needs of the products and go with cropped headers for group display.


#2 Smart SEO schemes:

In this Google shopping campaign management you will not get to use individual or specific keywords, so you will have to be more cautious. You will need to put all the specifications of the product in the title to make it unique and accurate. Also, track the leads and then, choose negative keywords to prevent irrelevant pop-ups of your ads.

#3 Daily Updates:

In order to improve the rank of your Ad, you need to provide detailed and up-to-date information about your product, which Google will use accordingly. This will also help you garner the required audience view.

#4 Including Specifications:

For easy and smooth Shopping campaign management, you need to add the crucial numbers like Global Trade Item Numbers or GTIN. This number along with others like ISBN, EAN, UPC and MPN helps in proper citation of the item and pops it in relevant places.

#5 Adding Promotions:  

Introduce the users with special promotions and discounts in purchase or delivery in the first instant. This prior information encourages them to surf and shop from your site to seal these stealing deals.

#6 Plan Properly:

Google requires around three days to check, approve, and launch your ads live online, so make sure to create perfect ads. Follow all the guidelines to be certain about the approval. Don’t forget to keep some time in hand in case any discrepancy pops up.

#7 Calculate and Act:

Study some Google Shopping Ads to understand the techniques as well as the profits and then work your way similarly. Google also provides valuable learning material to help you know about the ingrained techniques of placing Google ads. Going through them would hence be worthwhile.

Seeking the help of Google AdWords expert is mandatory for selling your products and popularizing your brand in the market. Thus, it is wise to hire Shopping campaign management services to follow the correct direction and make the right buzz!

How HR Technology Can Help You Overcome Biggest Recruiting Challenges

Your Key To Success: REAL ESTATE MARKETING

Real estate marketing is different from what you might be used to, but there are different sites that you should consider in order to achieve the best and most effective real estate marketing strategy possible.  Here, we’ll tell you of some steps that you should know, and ones you can implement to create a sound real estate marketing plan that showcases the homes to fitting buyers, and generates sales.

Create a Listing Marketing Plan

You should first and foremost create a strategic marketing plan by knowing what tour marketing ecosystem is, how it’s connected, and how you can move the audience through a funnel of sorts. You need a top-level view of each aspect that links it all together, whether it be a simple diagram that showcases how everything is connected, and from there look at every single element in an individual sense. Once that’s established, you can from there move forward.

You should measure, analyze, and then refine everything you can. Measuring can be as simple as looking at your audience, and from there you can analyze what will generate sales and interest, and from there, refine as needed to understand your audience and improve the efforts. You can from there create improvements for the next part of it.

Make sure it’s got professional Rendering

Photographs really don’t replicate, but sometimes, giving a clear sketch that details the property exterior, and also any other landscaping facts can help. Sometimes, those photos will be a bit unclear, and you want to make it something people will look at, so this is an effective way to create a wonderful look to showcase the house.

You should make sure that you utilize photography with your listings. Before you even list the property on the site, you should make sure that you have professional photographs that can be used on sites, different printed media, or even shared on social media, and used on printed media such as postcards, editorials, and even fliers.  If you have a good series of photos, make sure that anything that’s unsightly is handled, and you have everything properly photographed. Having a professional photographer go in is super important for marketing in the future. In the world of the internet and social media, photos say a lot, and having the property and high-quality advertising is imperative to the brand, and if you want people to find your property and decide to buy it, you should make sure that you market it effectively.

Make sure the property is specific

If you’re listing a property, make sure it’s got a specific website and landing page.  You want it to have a separate domain, address, and little so that people can easily locate this. You should take some professional photos, and when you list the home, try to put forward some aspects that will entice people to come in, and definitely make sure that you’re providing all of the information necessary about the area. 

Don’t just consider the internet

You can use door knocking in your area in order to get some interest in the surrounding area established. By showcasing the neighborhood and talking a bit about it and finding out from neighbors about who might want to move here will give more interest in what’s going on. Sometimes, even just talking about the property, or showing the fliers if you have one will generate interest, and you can even leave cards for the neighbors if they know of someone who will want to do this later.

You can also use printed media to showcase your place. You can put together some “just sold” or “just listed” postcards, or even showcase the market reports for an area, and other brochures which will allow for people to be more interested in what you’re providing. There are listing sheets that you can use, but don’t use multiple ones. Instead, just keep it all consistent, but also make sure that you do utilize printed media since it is important in our high-tech society.

Be descriptive

If you want to generate more interest from buyers so they’re connected to the property, give them descriptive summaries and listings of what you’re looking for, and make sure to add some emotion to these details. Make sure it evokes positivity and emotions from this.  Finally, always remember that good copy doesn’t just talk about the features, but it will sell all of the benefits, describing how good this property is for the potential buyer, and develop true connections for the person that you’re trying to generate an audience for.

Create Feature Listings!

When you’re looking to get true exposure, also make sure that you do feature it on your newsletters or social media sites. Newsletters, when managed well, can create direct channels to the audience so there will be a group of people on your mailing list just waiting to hear from you. You can feature the listing in a new edition, and tell people where they can find out more about this.  You should create a connected marketing strategy that you can use here.

Do consider Social Media

Listing properties on social media, or even other real estate websites, make it easy for the person to find the property. If you want people to flock to this in droves, you do this.  You should always use social media as much as you can, because it’s the gateway to the world, and remember that this will not only showcase to others that hey, your property is beautiful, but it will interest the audience so they stick around a bit longer, and they may even consider reaching out.

These real estate marketing strategies are part of maxrealestateexposure, and they can help you truly maximize your potential in order to generate the best and most reliable real estate marketing solutions out there and to help others not only find your listings but also choose to get more information on this too.

What is Software Testing

What is Software Testing?

Online software testing is a process of evaluation of a software item to detect the differences between the given input and the expected output online. It is also used to assess the software and the working of the software. Testing assesses the quality of the subject or the product. Software testing also helps one to identify errors, gaps or missing requirements which are against the actual requirements.

It is either done manually or victimization machine-driven tools. In straightforward terms, package checking suggests that Verification of Application beneath Test.

Why is it important?

Testing is an essential part of the process. Testing is important because the software bugs may be expensive or even dangerous to the computer sets. Software bugs will doubtless cause financial and human loss, and history is choked with such examples.

  1. In April 2015, Bloomberg terminal in London crashed due to the software glitch which affected more than 300,000 traders in the financial markets. It forced the government to postpone a 3bn pound debt sale in the market.
  2. Nissan cars had to recover over 1 million cars from the market due to the software failure in the airbag sensory detectors. There has been reportedly two accidents due to the software failure.
  3. Starbucks was forced to shut concerning sixty % of stores within the U.S and North American country thanks to package failure in its POS system. At one point of time, stores served coffee for free as they were unable to process the transaction.
  4. Some of the Amazon’s third party retailers saw their product worth is reduced to 1p thanks to a package defect. They were left with heavy losses.
  5. Vulnerability in Window 10.This bug allows users to flee from security sandboxes through a flaw within the win32k system.
  6. In 2015 fighter plane F-35 fell victim to a package bug, making it unable to detect targets correctly.
  7. China Airlines airliner A300 crashed thanks to a package bug on April twenty six, 1994, killing 264 innocent lives.
  8. In 1985, Canada’s Therac-25 radiation therapy machine malfunctioned due to the software bug and delivered lethal radiation doses to the patients, leaving 3 people dead and critically injuring 3 others.
  9. In April of 1999, a software bug caused the failure of a $1.2 billion military satellite launch, the costliest accident in history of the world.
  10. In might of 1996, a package bug caused the bank accounts of 823 customers of a serious U.S. bank to be attributable with 920 million United States bucks.
Typically Testing is classified into three categories:-
  1. Functional Testing.
  2. Non-Functional Testing or Performance Testing.
  3. Maintenance (Regression and Maintenance).
Skills required become a Software Tester

We will discuss about the Technical and Non-Technical required become a Software Tester.

  • Non-Technical Skills: Analytical skills: a decent package tester ought to have sharp analytical skills. Analytical skills can facilitate slash a fancy software into smaller units, to gain a better understanding and create test cases.
  • Communication skill: A good software tester must have good verbal and written communication skills. Testing artifacts created by the software tester should be easy to read and understand. Dealing with developers, it will require a shade of discreetness and diplomacy.
  • Time Management & Organization Skills: Testing at times could be a demanding job especially during the release of the code. A package tester should with efficiency manage work, have high productivity, exhibit optimal time management, and organization skills.
  • GREAT Attitude: To be a good online software tester you must have an attitude. An perspective to ‘test to break’, detail orientation, willingness to learn and suggest process improvements. In the package business, technologies evolve with an overwhelming speed, and a good software tester should upgrade his/her technical skills with the changing technologies.
  • Your perspective should mirror a precise degree of independence wherever you are taking possession of the task allotted and complete it while not a lot of direct superintendence.
  • Passion: To excel in any profession or job, one must have a degree of the passion for it. A software tester must have a passion for his / her field of area. But however does one confirm whether or not you’ve got a passion for package testing if you’ve got ne’er tested before?
  • Simple! Try it out and if software testing does not excite you switch to something else that holds your interest.
Technical Skills

Basic information of Database/ SQL: package Systems have an outsized quantity of knowledge within the background. This information is hold on in numerous styles of databases like Oracle, MySQL, etc. in the backend. So, there’ll be things once this information must be valid. In that case, simple/complex SQL queries can be used to check whether the proper data is stored in the backend databases or not.

Basic knowledge of Linux commands: Most of the software applications like Web-Services, Databases, Application Servers are deployed on Linux machines. So, it is crucial for testers to have knowledge about Linux commands.

Knowledge and hands-on experience of a Test Management Tool: Test Management is an important aspect of online software testing. Without correct check management techniques, software testing process will fail. Test management is nothing however managing your testing connected artifacts.

For example – A tool like Testlink can be used for tracking all the test cases written by your team.

There are unit alternative tools offered that may be utilized for check Management. So, it’s vital to possess information and dealing expertise of such tools as a result of they are employed in most of the businesses. Knowledge and active expertise of any Defect pursuit tool- Defect pursuit and Defect life cycle area unit key aspects of package testing. It is very crucial to managing defects properly and tracking them in an exceedingly systematic manner. Defect pursuit becomes necessary as a result of the complete team ought to fathom the defect together with managers, developers, and the testers.

Knowledge and hands-on experience of Automation tool: If you see yourself as an “Automation tester” after a couple of years working on manual testing, then you must master a tool and get in-depth, hands-on knowledge of automation tools.

Online software testing is not boring. What is boring is doing the same set of tasks repeatedly. The key is to try new things. For that matter, have you ever spoken to a software developer with more than 3 years’ experience? He will tell you how boring his job has become off-lately.

10 Free Social Media Templates With Uniquely Creative Designs

As a social media manager, clients can often expect you to wear many hats. Not only do they want an effective posting schedule, follower engagement & traffic to their sites; they often want you to design their graphics as well.

And in today’s competitive freelance marketplace, saying no can be the difference between keeping and losing your roster of clients.

To help you out, we’ve put together this round-up of 9 free social media templates for Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva & Sketch. You’ll be stuck for choice with readymade designs, so much so that you may add design to your list of available services…

1. Free Social Media Templates by BrandPacks

Though BrandPacks primarily create templates for print, their growing range of social media templates gives social media managers something to dig their teeth into.

These free social media templates are ideal for promoting product sales, events & promotions. Furthermore, as they’re available in both Photoshop PSD & Illustrator Vector, you’ve got complete control over the final design.

The generic design style and two-tone colour scheme mean they can easily be used for a wide range of brands and niches. Likewise, thanks to the square layout, these templates can be used across social media platforms – from Facebook & Twitter to Tumblr, Instagram and more. And best of all? They’re free!

Download

2. Free “Thank You” Templates for Social Media

These free social media templates are particularly unique, but nonetheless useful – especially when it comes to branded social media marketing.

A common practice for popular social media accounts & influencers is to say ‘thank you’ after reaching milestones in fans, likes or followers. So, to help you post stylish Instagram “Thank You” posts, BrandPacks have created this free set of banner templates.

Download

3. Free Instagram Templates Pack

These free Instagram templates for Photoshop & Illustrator are ideal for fashion brands, retail businesses & social media influencers.

Thanks to the easy-to-customize graphics and readymade image masks, creating your own professional branded Instagram posts takes just minutes.

In particular, these templates are ideal for showcasing new products, blogs & inspirational quotes. Each template uses free fonts & comes in Adobe PSD & Vector formats.

Download

4. Free Valentine’s Day Banner Templates

It may be a little late to use these banners in Valentine’s Day promotions, but they’re a nonetheless useful asset to keep in your library of Social Media Templates.

Featuring a simple layout with minimal line-art illustrations, the templates are stylish, professional yet quick & easy to edit.

Switch the colours from pink and you’ve got yourself a highly-flexible template you can use all year round.

Sized as 1,200px squares, these PSD & Vector banners are perfect for posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & more.

Download

5. Vana Fashion Instagram Pack

PixelBuddha is famed for their easy-to-use templates, with this Vana Fashion pack certainly being no different.

This fabulous set includes 8 Instagram Templates is compatible with Photoshop & Sketch. Their minimalism is easily combined with any type of picture: whether it’s an astounding look or a picture from your summer trip.

The templates are simply-customizable with their smart layers: even a beginner can create some decent images. Your stories deserve to be told through these beautiful templates.

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6. Bronze Collection – Free Insta Designs

This set of free social media designs are truly amazing, so much so I’m surprised they’re being handed out for free.

Crafted by Russian designer Liya Sechka and shared on her Behance account, this set of 18 unique layouts will bring a touch of luxury to any brand’s social media page.

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7. Napali Free Instagram Stories Kit

Instagram Stories are an increasingly popular way for savvy brands to connect with consumers and market their products. Therefore, it’d be silly to miss some Stories templates from this list of useful social media graphics.

This set of 12 unique & fully customizable templates for Photoshop & Sketch feature an upscale design style for fashion brands & influencers.

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8. Free Instagram Stories Templates for Canva

In recent years, Canva has become a powerhouse design tool for non-designers. So if you’re no Photoshop pro and you’ve been tasked with the company’s insta page – or if you’re just looking to improve your own – these free templates are an ideal place to start.

The collection includes 5 eye-catching story templates in PNG format; optimized specifically for Canva. They’re perfect for bloggers, podcasters, influences and creative entrepreneurs looking to update their audiences in a beautifully designed way.

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9.  Free Instagram Stories & Post Templates

These free templates by designer Olga Avdonina feature a beautiful blend of image masks, textures & neatly laid-out type. If your band requires a soft & elegant approach to social media marketing, these free Photoshop templates could be just what you need.

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10. Free Instagram Stories by Anastasia

From fashion brands and retailers to travel blogs and influencers, these free templates for Instagram Stories could be put to use by a wide range of users.

Blending large background photos, modern pastel colour schemes and eye-catching titles; these layouts are sure to deliver impressive brand results.

Download

Hospitality – One of the Most Important Skills Leader Should Have

The hospitality industry is a peculiar field, seeing as how you’re selling a general feeling, rather than just a product or a commodity. You see, there are some hotels or restaurants that simply feel cozy, welcoming and pleasant to be at, without really excelling in anything. We all have that one hotel that wasn’t the cheapest, the most luxurious or the best equipped but that we have fond memories of. Chances are that a person would return to this hotel, even if they encounter a superior offer elsewhere. In the hospitality industry, it’s all about return visitors and the only way to acquire them is to create a positive experience the first time around. Here are several skills that a leader should have to facilitate this process.

1. Communication skills

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that the organization of your hotel greatly depends on your ability to organize everything. However, making a solid plan doesn’t mean much if you can’t find a way to convey it to your staff. Moreover, there are some guests that demand or require special treatment and it’s your job to accommodate them. Either way, in the digital era, communication skills need to be used both orally and in writing. Needless to say, the latter comes in many different formats. Circular emails can replace meetings while IM tools can keep your team coordinated at any given moment. Even when it comes to your marketing, you need to become good at conveying the message.

2. Being a good listener

Previously, we put an emphasis on your ability to convey a message, however, what about your ability to receive feedback. You see, showing interest in what people are telling you is just one of many ways to make them instantly like you. Dale Carnegie talked quite a bit about this in his iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, nonetheless, this is not all that active listening is good for.

The problem with your vision of your hotel/restaurant lies in the fact that you know all the details and see all those behind-the-curtain parts that other people won’t be able to see. Therefore, you don’t have a real idea of what your business looks like from the outside. By listening, really listening to people, you’ll get a much more realistic view of your business, as a whole. This will give you an opportunity to further emphasize its strengths and fix all your weaknesses.

3. Willingness to self-improve

Being a hospitality manager takes a lot of responsibility and there’s really no limit to how good you can become in this field. The problem, nonetheless, lies in the fact that learning from experience will be limited to situations that you and your staff have encountered, which is an unreliable didactic method, to say the least. Instead of believing that hospitality is an intuitive career path, you should find a suitable course and enlist on it.

Needless to say, this will provide you with a certificate that you can use with your marketing, later on, as well as the knowledge you can apply on a daily basis. Moreover, it’s completely up to you whether you study just enough to get a diploma or if you embark on this adventure to revolutionize your business. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to be quite resourceful, at times, and provide yourself with necessary hospitality training resources. These learning materials come in various forms and are of varying quality, which is also something you need to take into consideration.

4. Cultural awareness

The next thing that a leader in the field of hospitality needs to understand is the fact that you’ll probably receive guests from all over the world. Now, in theory, a guest is supposed to adjust to the culture of their target country (your culture), however, as a business, you need to go above and beyond to be welcoming and… well, welcoming. This is why cultural awareness matters. This doesn’t mean that you should greet every single one of your visitors in their native tongue but you could, at very least be aware that they’re coming from a different culture and give them some room to breathe. Don’t be too pushy, too talkative or try to engage with them physically (even if you see it as nothing more than a handshake).

5. Multi-tasking

The next important skill you need to master is multi-tasking, seeing as how you might be required to handle several tasks at the same time. In the middle of the season, you’ll have the place full and your staff will work at its maximum capacity. Other than this, you might also employ some seasonal workers, which will require more supervision than your own in-house staff. This is all the more reason why you need to be able to handle several tasks, at the same time and perform admirably under pressure.

6. Emotional resilience

As a leader, you’ll be responsible for every success and every failure of your business. However, you need to understand that you can’t allow either of these two sensations to overwhelm you. Receiving a positive review or comment might help motivate you but becoming overconfident is a negative thing and could potentially set your back, professionally. Receiving a negative piece of feedback might demoralize you and make you start doubting yourself even wanting to quit for good. Keep in mind that different people have different requirements and expectations. This subjective standpoint that every visitor has is the main reason why you’ll never be able to please (or disappoint) everyone.

In conclusion

The very last thing you need to understand is the fact that the field of hospitality is an umbrella term that consists of many different business options. Needless to say, each of these adds another variable to the set of skills that you need to possess for success. Nonetheless, the top six factors are universally important and contribute to the overall level of your organization. Put together, they make you a great host and take your hospitality to a next level.

Evaluating Work Ethic: Top 5 Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Discover the most effective job interview questions for evaluating candidates’ work ethic.

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Why should you look for a strong work ethic in candidates?

A strong work ethic is the most desired characteristic in a new employee, according to many employers. Why is that?

It is because candidates with extensive relevant experience and the right skills won’t be an asset for a company unless they exhibit a strong work ethic.

In other words, qualification and skills aren’t enough to guarantee that a candidate will be successful in a job. Besides great qualifications, work experience and skills, a top candidate will also exhibit a will to work hard and dedicated.

What is the best way to evaluate work ethic in candidates?

You can’t really assess a candidate’s work ethic by resume alone. When you’re trying to recognize a strong work ethic, it is important to look beyond your candidates’ qualification and skills.

In order to find if your candidate is a hard-working, reliable, dedicated, punctual and responsible employee, you should use behavioral interview questions.

Interview questions for evaluating work ethic

Here are top 5 job interview questions designed specifically to evaluate candidate’s work ethic:

  1. Can you describe a time when you went the extra mile at work?

  2. When things are slow at work or you’ve finished your tasks, what do you do?

  3. How do you define work ethic? What does it mean to you?

  4. When have you worked the hardest? Describe the situation and explain your motivation.

  5. Give an example of when you completed a difficult task that made you work harder than normal.

By asking these job interview questions, you can easily uncover candidates with a strong work ethic. The best candidates will be able to provide detailed, real-life examples of their previously demonstrated inclination to work hard and go the extra mile.

Additional resources

➡️ If you’re looking for more great interviewing questions, you’ll find more examples in our blog post: Questions to ask candidates in a job interview.

➡️ If you would like to improve your overall interviewing skills, check out our Guide: How to be a good interviewer.

Getting ‘SMART’ About AI

Author: Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

Global access to data is exploding. At the same time, our ability to categorise, classify and analyse this data is also expanding. As this new world of data unfolds, businesses are looking to create new data models―and their supporting data analytics functions—to directly and positively impact growth, profit and expansion.

But let’s go back to first principles for a moment. We know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)―when correctly applied—can improve the way organisations work and operate. But do organisations know where to start as they look to create these new data models?

We―and by ‘we’ I mean you as the customers, us at ServiceNow, as well as our partners, everybody basically—need to ask where to categorise and compartmentalise processes and functions to build new digital workflows. We need to examine which aspects of the business should be most directly ‘exposed’ to AI. We also need to know what is and isn’t possible in the short, medium and long term.

In other words, we need to get smart about being smarter if we’re going to bring a new era of business forward. So, what does smart really mean in modern business terms? I think it is time to look at AI and digital workflows through the lens of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives.

SMART-goals

Specificity

When we use the word ‘specific’ and demand a greater level of product or service specificity, we mean it in the most granular sense possible.

We can’t just say we need more paperclips, more salespeople, more office air conditioning or more field sales automobiles. We need to ask what kind of paperclip shape we need, what colour, what build strength and perhaps even what level of ‘clippyness’ every clip needs to exhibit.

When you are thinking about delivering AI and ML in the business you have to be really focused on what you are trying to achieve―and by that I mean, you need to be able to tie down specific use cases for each and every paperclip.

Measurability

Getting smart with new digital workflows also requires measurability. If you can’t measure it and put it in your business plan and balance sheet (a process, a service, a workflow element, anything at all) then you need to step back and ask whether you should really be doing it.

The reality is that data is often captured and not ever used. It simply falls unmeasured, and unloved, into the data lake. The real cost of this is the ‘noise’ that is created throughout the business because for one, wasted data goes crashing into the lake and secondly, there is then the splashing that occurs afterwards when users do actually realise that they have to start diving into the lake to look for the data that they might actually need in order to make work experiences better!

Attainability and relevancy

If an AI initiative is not attainable or achievable, then why has it formed a part of your current business strategy in the first place? Nowadays we can forecast how far AI will realistically be able to change any given business in real practical terms.

Similarly, if an AI business initiative is not relevant to the business and not able to exist within the context of the organisation’s current and immediate goals, then it forms no sensible part of any smart business plan.

Timeliness

Lastly, we come to timeliness. In the not so distant past, business cycles and the general approach to commercial objectives were typically annual. In this post-millennial age, firms are measuring themselves in much smaller strategic increments.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and business targets used to change year-on-year. Today, they might be calibrated to change monthly, weekly or perhaps even on the basis of individual (tickets) activities relating to individual jobs.

Your next steps

The goal for any business should be to get to the point where they can use smart digital workflows to drive greater productivity, greater quality of all services and greater experiences for all employees.

We know that an increasing proportion of organisations are already examining where they can bring AI to bear and create new value in their business. We also know that many are already on that road and creating new applications and new experiences. Factors that matter most now include service quality, cost reduction, speedy delivery and the need for geographical availability for all new products and services. These are all the defining trends that should be shaping the way we develop new digital workflows that leverage AI and ML.

As vendors, we need to help businesses identify areas for improvement, not just before they start to lose profits and market share, but more significantly, before they start to actually lose contracts. There’s a new culture for predictive business strategy that we are underpinning and making possible.

Smart is smarter if it is more productive and creates greater experiences for everybody inside and outside your organisation. It’s where the smart money is, believe me.

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, EMEA, ServiceNow

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

Can shares be transferred to IEPF?

According to Section 126 (6) of the Companies Act of 2013, an amendment was passed in accordance with the transfer shares to the IEPF. The amendment stated that if the person has failed to recover unclaimed shares of a certain company for seven consecutive years, they are liable to be transferred to the user’s DEMAT account of the IEPF. The amendment further elaborates that all the shares that are held in a physical or dematerialized form and are required to be transferred to the IEPF authority, they will all be done so to the DEMAT accounts of the IEPF through corporate authorities.

The shareholders can transfer both the unclaimed shares and dividend to the IEPF and they can also be claimed from the authorities at the discretion of the shareholder. There are certain rules that they have to go through before doing so and one should not that there is no claim that can lie against the company with regards to the unclaimed shares and the dividend amount that is transferred to the DEMAT account of the IEPF. There is a procedure that has to be followed for the transfer of shares by the company to the authorities of the IEPF

There are a  few things to be kept in mind in order to transfer the dividend or shares to the IEPF authorities:

  • The transfer of shares must happen within a period of 30 days after the completion of the seven consecutive years of holding the unclaimed shares or dividend amount. It needs to be specifically transferred to the “unpaid dividend account” of the IEPF authority
  • It is essential to note that the shares will not be eligible to be transferred if the owner of the unclaimed Businesses shares or dividends has uncashed or withdrawn dividend warrants during the last 7 years
  • The shareholder needs to ensure that they hold the board resolution that authorizes the company’s secretary who is carrying out the procedure or giving effect to the required acts for the purpose
  • The respective shareholder need to be informed about the transfer at least 3 months before the deadline of the transfer of these shares

The transfer of shares needs to be carried out according to the following procedure:

  • If the shares are in a DEMAT form, the concerned company should fill out the corporate actions form with the depository. If the shares are in a physical form, the company’s secretary must file an application on behalf of the shareholder who is under the ‘IEPF claim refund’ category. A new share certificate will be issued to such users. The DEMAT hold the functions and the features to support any operation regarding the IEPF and it also meets all requirements
  • The new share certificate that is issued will be recorded in the register for the maintenance of records.
  • After the issue, the company shall let the depository know that they have to convert their shares certificates in the form of SEMAT so that it can be transferred in favor of the IEPF authorities. This has to be done through corporate action
  • After this entire procedure, the concerned company should send in a statement to the IEPF authorities through an IEPF – 4 form and that must consist the details regarding the transfer of the dividend amount or shares while affecting the same